Moving with pets: tips for choosing the right flight

  • Published
  • By Gina Hoover
  • 17th Logistics Readiness Squadron traffic management office
Pets are an important part of the family making the move with you to new duty stations, but what's the best way to get them there?

Some members moving to a new duty station get an opportunity to choose between traveling with Air Mobility Command or on commercial airlines.

Here are some tips for choosing between the two when traveling with pets.

AMC guidelines follow Department of Defense regulations that limit shipping pets, dogs and cats only, to passengers who are moving to a new duty location. AMC charges per kennel, based on the combined weight of the kennel and animal. Seventy pounds or less are charged as one piece; 71 to140 pounds are charged as two pieces; and 141 to150 pounds are charged as three pieces. Animals with a combined weight of more than 150 pounds cannot be shipped by AMC.

Normally, pets must be kenneled individually. However, two small animals may share a kennel if they are less than six-months old, are the same species, weigh less than 20 pounds each and are of comparable size. They must also be accustomed to cohabitation and be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in the kennel.

If a pet is traveling in the cabin, it must be able to fit under the seat. The kennel cannot exceed 20 inches long by 16 inches wide and 8 inches tall.

Families are limited to traveling with two pets on AMC transportation. If additional space is needed, check with the transportation office for the space-available pet program 15 days prior to the AMC flight to see if extra space is available. If so, transportation will make a reservation and provide a confirmation printout to present during check-in.

Commercial airlines have a 100-pound weight restriction per pet and do not allow pet shipments if there are excessive hot or cold conditions at any location on the itinerary.

Excessive hot and cold conditions are when current or forecasted temperature is 85 degrees or more, or when ground temperature falls below 45 degrees. Air Mobility Command officials do not impose these seasonal restrictions, but some AMC lifts require travel on commercial air transportation to reach the AMC terminal.

Remember, each airline's procedures and policies are subject to change, so call them to get the up-to-date regulations on shipping pets.

Other considerations when traveling with pets include selecting the appropriate kennel and providing documentation.

Soft-sided or collapsible kennels are not approved for air shipment. Owners are responsible for following all U.S. Department of Agriculture and International Air Transport Association regulations regarding kennel size and types. The kennel must provide adequate ventilation. Pets will not be accepted in kennels that are too small. Place several layers of newspaper, shredded paper, or other absorbent material in the bottom of the kennel, but do not use straw, hay, grass, sawdust, sand or soil.

Owners are responsible for having all required documentation, immunization, border clearance requirements and health certificates for their pet. Pet health records must be up to date and meet all country entry requirements. These documents must be brought to the traffic management office when making travel reservations. Quarantine costs as well as other costs associated with pet shipments are the owner's responsibility.

For more information on traveling with pets, visit